A Very SOS Year at the San Juan Islands National Monument

Hello.  I am back working at the San Juan Islands National Monument for my second year.  Last year I spent most of my time doing botanical surveys following the AIM strategy (Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring).  This year I am very happy to be handling our Seeds of Success program.


Cerastium arvense at Kellet Bluff, San Juan Islands National Monument

Seeds of Success is almost completely new to the San Juan Islands.  Before last summer neither I nor the full time employees of our office had a clear understanding of the program.  That changed when I attended the Chicago Botanic Garden’s CLM intern workshop.  Hearing from Peggy Olwell and Meagan Haidet, I was inspired by what I learned about SOS and was more than keen to get a collection team started for our islands.  Luckily, my mentor shared my interest once I told her more about the program and she was able to get funding to start collecting.  (this was supposed to be a heartwarming ‘we interns can make a difference’ story but apparently I am not pulling it off).

Anyway, I started working for San Juan SOS two weeks ago and have been intensely busy since.  Week one was spent at the National Native Seed Conference in Santa Fe, where I met a number of incredible people, learned a hundred things about seed, and spent days generally not knowing what I was talking about.  Week two I have been meeting with partners, making lists, visiting sites, and teaching school children about monitoring.  All while still knowing minimally what I’m talking about.



The most rewarding part of the past week was talking to a group of 5th graders from our local school.  I am by no means a  skilled educator or kid wrangler, but it is amazing to see and help children think critically about the natural world around them.


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